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The online C-Test: evaluating a discipline-specific academic literacy competency assessment tool

Kebble, P and Cruickshank, V ORCID: 0000-0002-9766-6807 2019 , 'The online C-Test: evaluating a discipline-specific academic literacy competency assessment tool' , Journal of Academic Language & Learning, vol. 13, no. 1 , A15-A27 .

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This paper examines the use of an experimental online post-entry languageassessment (PELA) tool during the first year of an undergraduate Informationand Communication Technologies (ICT) course provided by an Australianuniversity. The research was conducted in response to English language teaching staff, subject lecturers, and the Australian Universities Quality Agency(AUQA) expressing concern that students were engaging with the ICT coursewithout appropriate English language proficiency. The response to these concerns was for the authors to implement an assessment of English languagecompetency to establish the extent of the concerns, and to provide recommendations as how these issues could be addressed. Three forms of testing wereemployed, a reading/summarising exercise, a listening test, and the online discipline-specific literacy assessment tool. More specifically, this paper detailsthe design and evaluation of the latter online assessment tool utilising the ‘CTest’ procedure. The outcomes of this research were twofold. First, it identified that as many as 39% of students were likely operating with a lower levelof linguistic proficiency than was considered appropriate for successful engagement with the course, which then allowed the authors to provide a list ofrecommendations to help alleviate this issue. Second, while extensive researchsuggests the C-Test is a reliable tool to gauge linguistic competency, our research found only a weak correlation between students’ C-Test results andtheir results on a concurrent reading/writing (summarising) test. This resultpoints to a need for more rigorous research into the concurrent validity of theC-Test and the way that it is implemented online as a measure of disciplinespecific linguistic competency.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kebble, P and Cruickshank, V
Keywords: C-Test, online application, assessment, English language teaching
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Academic Language & Learning
Publisher: Association for Academic Language and Learning
ISSN: 1835-5196
Copyright Information:

© 2019 P. Kebble & V. Cruickshank

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